KR20090024133A - Flexible light guide - Google Patents

Flexible light guide Download PDF

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Publication number
KR20090024133A
KR20090024133A KR1020087029138A KR20087029138A KR20090024133A KR 20090024133 A KR20090024133 A KR 20090024133A KR 1020087029138 A KR1020087029138 A KR 1020087029138A KR 20087029138 A KR20087029138 A KR 20087029138A KR 20090024133 A KR20090024133 A KR 20090024133A
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KR
South Korea
Prior art keywords
light guide
flexible layer
light
major surface
flexible
Prior art date
Application number
KR1020087029138A
Other languages
Korean (ko)
Inventor
마크 이. 가디너
게리 티. 보이드
제프리 엘. 솔로몬
데일 엘. 에네스
엘. 피터 에릭슨
Original Assignee
쓰리엠 이노베이티브 프로퍼티즈 컴파니
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
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Publication date
Priority to US11/421,241 priority Critical patent/US20070279935A1/en
Priority to US11/421,241 priority
Application filed by 쓰리엠 이노베이티브 프로퍼티즈 컴파니 filed Critical 쓰리엠 이노베이티브 프로퍼티즈 컴파니
Publication of KR20090024133A publication Critical patent/KR20090024133A/en

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    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B6/00Light guides
    • G02B6/0001Light guides specially adapted for lighting devices or systems
    • G02B6/0011Light guides specially adapted for lighting devices or systems the light guides being planar or of plate-like form
    • G02B6/0033Means for improving the coupling-out of light from the light guide
    • G02B6/005Means for improving the coupling-out of light from the light guide provided by one optical element, or plurality thereof, placed on the light output side of the light guide
    • G02B6/0053Prismatic sheet or layer; Brightness enhancement element, sheet or layer
    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B6/00Light guides
    • G02B6/0001Light guides specially adapted for lighting devices or systems
    • G02B6/0011Light guides specially adapted for lighting devices or systems the light guides being planar or of plate-like form
    • G02B6/0033Means for improving the coupling-out of light from the light guide
    • G02B6/005Means for improving the coupling-out of light from the light guide provided by one optical element, or plurality thereof, placed on the light output side of the light guide
    • G02B6/0051Diffusing sheet or layer
    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B6/00Light guides
    • G02B6/0001Light guides specially adapted for lighting devices or systems
    • G02B6/0011Light guides specially adapted for lighting devices or systems the light guides being planar or of plate-like form
    • G02B6/0033Means for improving the coupling-out of light from the light guide
    • G02B6/0058Means for improving the coupling-out of light from the light guide varying in density, size, shape or depth along the light guide
    • G02B6/0061Means for improving the coupling-out of light from the light guide varying in density, size, shape or depth along the light guide to provide homogeneous light output intensity
    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B6/00Light guides
    • G02B6/0001Light guides specially adapted for lighting devices or systems
    • G02B6/0011Light guides specially adapted for lighting devices or systems the light guides being planar or of plate-like form
    • G02B6/0033Means for improving the coupling-out of light from the light guide
    • G02B6/0063Means for improving the coupling-out of light from the light guide for extracting light out both the major surfaces of the light guide

Abstract

A flexible light guide and a display system comprising the same are disclosed. The light guide includes a first flexible layer and a second flexible layer. Each flexible layer has a first major surface and a second major surface. The second major surface of the first flexible layer is in contact with the first major surface of the second flexible layer. The first major surface of the first flexible layer has a plurality of discrete light extractors capable of extracting light propagating within the light guide so that the light is uniformly distributed over the entire first major surface of the first flexible layer. Extracted.

Description

Flexible light guide {FLEXIBLE LIGHT GUIDE}

FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention generally relates to light guides and displays comprising the same. In particular, the present invention relates to a multilayer flexible light guide.

Optical displays, such as liquid crystal displays (LCDs), are becoming more and more common, for example, mobile phones, hand held personal digital assistants (PDAs) to laptop computers, portable computers Its use can be found in digital music players, LCD desktop computer monitors, and LCD televisions. In addition to becoming more prevalent, LCDs are becoming thinner as manufacturers of electronic devices, including LCDs, strive to realize smaller package sizes.

Many LCDs use backlights to illuminate the display area of the LCD. The backlight often includes a light guide in the form of a slab or wedge of optically transparent polymeric material, for example, produced by injection molding. In many applications, the backlight includes one or more light sources that couple light from one or more edges of the light guide into the light guide. In a slab waveguide, the combined light typically travels through the light guide by total internal reflection from the top and bottom surfaces of the light guide until it encounters some feature that causes some of the light to exit the light guide. . These features are often printed dots made of light scattering material. Printed dots are usually produced by screen printing techniques.

In general, the present invention relates to a light guide. The invention also relates to a display comprising the light guide.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the light guide comprises a first flexible layer and a second flexible layer. Each flexible layer has a first major surface and a second major surface. The second major surface of the first flexible layer is in contact with the first major surface of the second flexible layer. The first major surface of the first flexible layer includes a plurality of discrete light extractors capable of extracting light propagating within the light guide. Light is uniformly extracted over the first major surface of the first flexible layer.

In another embodiment of the invention, the flexible light guide comprises a first flexible layer disposed on and in contact with the entire major surface of the second flexible layer. The first flexible layer has a plurality of discrete light extractors. Light propagated in the flexible layers by total internal reflection is extracted by a plurality of discrete light extractors. The intensity profile of the extracted light is uniform across the light guide.

In another embodiment of the invention, the light guide comprises a first flexible layer attached to and covering the second flexible layer. A plurality of discrete light extractors are dispersed throughout the major surface of the first flexible layer. The light extractor may extract light propagating in the light guide.

The invention can be more fully understood and appreciated in view of the following detailed description of various embodiments of the invention in connection with the accompanying drawings.

1 is a schematic side view of a backlight system.

2A is a schematic plan view of a backlight system with discrete light extractors.

2B is a three dimensional schematic view of a backlight system with alignment tabs for alignment with a plate;

3 is a schematic plan view of a backlight system with discrete light extractors.

4 is a schematic side view of a display system.

5 is a schematic side view of another backlight system.

The present invention generally applies to a backlight comprising a light guide for providing the desired illumination in a display system. The invention applies in particular to thin flexible light guides which can be produced easily and economically.

The present invention discloses a thin, flexible multilayer light guide for use in a backlight. The light guide may be manufactured using a continuous roll to roll process, for example a continuous casting and curing process. One advantage of the present invention is reduced display thickness. Another advantage of the present invention is reduced cost.

1 is a schematic side view of a backlight system 100. The backlight system 100 facilitates light coupling from the light guide 110, the light source 150 disposed proximate the edge 111 of the light guide 110, and from the light source 150 to the light guide 110. An optical coupler 160. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the optical coupler 160 is separate from the light guide 110. In some applications, the optical coupler 160 may be an integral part of the light guide 110, for example by providing an appropriate curvature at the edge 111 of the light guide 110.

The light guide 110 has a first flexible layer 120 having a first major surface 121 and a second major surface 122, and a first major surface 131 and a second major surface 132. Second flexible layer 130. The second major surface 122 is in contact with the first major surface 131. In some embodiments, substantially the entire second major surface 122 is in contact with substantially the entire first major surface 131.

Light from light source 150 propagates generally in z-direction within light guide 110 by reflection from major surfaces 121, 132, where the reflection may be mainly total internal reflection where necessary. For example, light ray 173 undergoes total internal reflection at major surface 121 at point 173A and at major surface 132 at point 173B.

The first major surface 121 includes a plurality of discrete light extractors 140 capable of extracting light propagating within the light guide 110. For example, the light extractor 140 extracts at least a portion of the light ray 171 propagated in the light guide 110 and incident on the light extractor 140. As another example, the light extractor 140A extracts at least a predetermined fraction of the light rays 173 propagating in the light guide 110 and incident on the light extractor 140A. In general, the spacing between neighboring light extractors may be different at various locations on the major surface 121. In addition, the shape, respective height, and / or size of the light extractor may be different for several light extractors. Such a modification may be useful to adjust the amount of light extracted at various locations on major surface 121.

If desired, the light extractor 140 can be designed and arranged along the first major surface 121 such that light is extracted evenly over substantially the entire first major surface 121.

In addition, neighboring light extractors may be separated by a substantially flat land area 180 having an average thickness "d". In some embodiments, the average thickness of land area 180 is 20, or 15, or 10, or 5, or 2 micrometers or less.

In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the light extractor 140 forms a plurality of discrete light extractors. In some applications, light extractor 140 may form a continuous profile, such as a sinusoidal profile, which may extend along the y and z-axes, for example.

Light extractor 140 and / or land region 180 have light diffusing features 141 to provide a predetermined fraction of light, such as small, that can be incident on the diffusing features while propagating inside light guide 110. The fraction can be scattered. Diffusion features 141 may help extract light from the light guide. In addition, the diffusion features 141 can improve the uniformity of the intensity of the light propagating inside the light guide 110 by, for example, scattering the light laterally along the y-axis.

Diffusion feature 141 may be a light diffusing layer disposed on surface 121 by, for example, a coating. As another example, diffusion features 141 may be used to form any suitable process, such as microreplication, embossing, or light extractor 140 and diffusion features 141 simultaneously or sequentially. It may be formed during manufacture of the light extractor 140 by any other method that is present.

At least one of the flexible layers 120, 130 may be a bulk diffuser, for example by including small particles of guest material dispersed in a host material, in which case Guest and host materials have different refractive indices.

The first flexible layer 120 has a first refractive index n 1 and the second flexible layer 130 has a second refractive index n 2 , where n 1 and n 2 are, for example, within the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Refractive index. In one embodiment of the invention, n 1 is greater than or equal to n 2 . In some applications, n 1 is greater than or equal to n 2 for both S-polarized and P-polarized incident light.

In some embodiments, at least one of the first flexible layer 120 and the second flexible layer 130 is isotropic in refractive index. In some applications, both layers are isotropic.

Light source 150 may be any suitable type of light source, such as a fluorescent lamp or light emitting diode (LED). In addition, the light source 150 may include a plurality of discrete light sources, such as a plurality of discrete LEDs.

In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the light source 150 is located proximate one edge of the light guide 110. In general, one or more light sources may be located proximate one or more edges of the light guide 110. For example, in FIG. 1, additional light sources may be disposed adjacent the edge 112 of the light guide 110.

The flexible layers 120 and 130 are preferably formed of a substantially optically transparent material. Exemplary materials include glass or polymeric materials such as cyclic olefin copolymers (COC), polyesters (e.g., polyethylene naphthalate (PEN), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), etc.), polyacrylates, polymethylmeta Acrylate (PMMA), polycarbonate (PC), or any other suitable polymeric material.

In some embodiments, the first flexible layer 120 and / or the second flexible layer 130 can be up to a radius of curvature of up to about 100, or 50, or 30, or 15, or 10, or 5 mm without damage. It is thin enough to be bent.

In some embodiments, the average thickness of the second flexible layer is at least 5, or 10, or 20, or 40 times the maximum thickness of the first flexible layer.

In some embodiments, the average thickness of the second flexible layer is no greater than 1000, or 700, or 500, or 400, or 250, or 200 micrometers.

In some embodiments, the maximum thickness of the first flexible layer is 100, or 50, or 15 micrometers or less.

In some embodiments, the second flexible layer 130 is self-supporting while the first flexible layer 120 is not. Here, "self-support" refers to a film capable of maintaining and supporting its own weight without breaking, tearing, or otherwise damaging the film in a way that is unsuitable for its intended use.

The second flexible layer 130 may be in the form of a slab of uniform thickness, as schematically shown in FIG. 1, in which case the first and second major surfaces 131, 132 are substantially parallel. However, in some applications, the second flexible layer may be in the form of a wedge or may be another layer of non-uniform thickness.

The exemplary embodiment of FIG. 1 shows a convex lenslet as the light extractor 140, meaning that each lenslet forms a bump on the surface 121. In general, light extractor 140 may have any shape that can achieve the desired light extraction. For example, the light extractor 140 may provide a concave structure that forms a depression in the surface 121, a convex structure such as a hemispherical convex lenslet, a prismatic structure, a sinusoidal structure, or a desired light extraction pattern, for example. It can include any other shape with linear or non-linear faces or sides that may be suitable.

The distribution and density of the light extractors 140 may be selected to provide the desired light extraction and may depend on a number of factors, such as the shape of the light source 150. For example, FIG. 2A shows a backlight system 200 that includes an extended light source 250, such as a line-light source disposed proximate the entire edge 111 of the light guide 110. do. In this example, the plurality of discrete light extractors 140 are arranged along a plurality of mutually parallel lines, such as parallel lines 210 and parallel lines 211, where each line is at least two discrete. Light extractor.

In general, the density, shape, and size of the light extractor 140 may be different at various locations along the surface 121 to provide a desired light distribution for the extracted light.

The light guide 110 may have alignment features for aligning the light guide to other components in a system including the light guide. For example, the light guide 110 may have at least one alignment tab and / or alignment notch and / or alignment hole for aligning the light guide 110 to another layer in the system. For example, the light guide 110 of FIG. 2A has a circular alignment tab 251 with a corresponding through hole 252, a square alignment tab 253 with a corresponding through hole 254, and an edge of the light guide. A side or edge notch 255 cut into the light guide 110, and a corner notch 256 at the corners of the light guide and an alignment hole 257 disposed at an interior position of the light guide.

2B shows a three-dimensional schematic view of a light guide 110 having an alignment tab 258 with a corresponding hole 259, in which case the tab can be fitted within a hole 259, for example. 265 is used to align the light guide 110 to a plate 260 that includes. The plate 260 further includes a light source 270 for providing light to the light guide 110. Insertion of the strut 265 into the hole 259 may help align the light source 270 with the edge 111 of the light guide 110.

In general, it is desirable to arrange the alignment features in the light guide 110, for example in an asymmetrical manner, so that a unique match exists between the alignment features and their corresponding features in plate 260. Such an arrangement will reduce or eliminate the possibility of the light guide being positioned, for example with the inappropriate side of the light guide facing the plate 260.

As another example, FIG. 3 shows a backlight system 300 that includes essentially a point light source 350 such as an LED. In this example, the plurality of discrete light extractors 140 are arranged along concentric arcs, such as arcs 310 centered on the light source, in which case each arc comprises at least two discrete light extractors.

The density of the light extractor 140 may vary across the first major surface 121. For example, the density can increase with distance along the z-axis. Such an arrangement may allow light to be extracted from the light guide 110, for example, with a uniform irradiance across the first major surface 121.

1 shows a discrete light extractor 140 in which adjacent light extractors are separated by flat land regions 180. In some applications, the light extractor 140 may form a continuous pattern across a portion of the entire first major surface 121. In some cases, light extractor 140 may form a continuous pattern across the entire first major surface 121. For example, the light extractor 140 may form a sinusoidal pattern across the surface 121.

The light guide 110 may be manufactured using any suitable manufacturing method, such as UV casting and curing, extrusion, such as extrusion casting, coextrusion, or other known methods. By way of example, the light guide 110 may be manufactured by coextrusion of the flexible layers 120, 130 followed by a compression molding step, during which the extractor 140 is formed in the surface 121. do.

4 shows a schematic side view of a display system 400 according to one embodiment of the invention. Display system 400 includes light guide 110, diffuser 420, first light redirecting layer 430, second light redirecting layer 440, and display panel 450, such as a liquid crystal panel. . The display system 400 further includes a reflector 410 attached to the light guide 110 by an adhesive 401. Diffuser 420 is attached to light guide 110 and first light redirecting layer 430 by adhesives 402 and 403, respectively. In addition, the first and second light turning layers 430, 440 are attached by an adhesive 404.

4 shows adhesives 401-404 disposed along opposite edges of display system 400. In general, each adhesive may be placed in one or multiple locations to provide proper adhesion between adjacent layers. For example, the adhesive can be disposed along all edges of neighboring layers. In some applications, the adhesive may be disposed at discrete locations along the perimeter of adjacent layers. In some other applications, the adhesive may cover the entire surface of adjacent layers. For example, the adhesive 401 may cover substantially the entire surfaces 411, 412 of the reflector 410 and the light guide 110, respectively.

The light turning layer 430 includes a microstructured layer 431 disposed on the substrate 432. Similarly, light redirecting layer 440 includes microstructured layer 441 disposed on substrate 442. The light redirecting layers 430, 440 can be, for example, conventional prismatic light directing layers already disclosed in US Pat. Nos. 4,906,070 (Cobb) and 5,056,892 (Cove). For example, microstructured layer 431 can include a linear prism extending linearly along the y-axis, and microstructured layer 441 can include a linear prism extending linearly along the z-axis. have.

The operation of conventional light turning layers has already been described, for example, in US Pat. No. 5,056,892 (Cove). In summary, light rays impinging on the structures in the microstructured layers 431 and 441 at angles of incidence greater than the critical angle are totally internally reflected back by the reflector 410 and recycled. On the other hand, light rays incident on the structure at an angle smaller than the critical angle are partially transmitted and partially reflected. The end result is that the light turning layers 430 and 440 can achieve display brightness enhancement by recycling the totally internally reflected light.

The exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 4 includes a plurality of adhesive layers, such as adhesive layers 402 and 403. In some applications, one or more of the adhesive layers in display system 400 may be removed. For example, in some applications, the adhesive layers 402, 403, 404 can be removed, in which case the remaining layers align with each other by other means, such as by aligning the edges of the layers or by including alignment tabs. Can be.

5 is a schematic side view of a backlight system 500. The backlight system 500 includes a light guide 510, a light source 514 disposed proximate the edge 511 of the light guide 510, and a light source 515 disposed proximate the other edge 512 of the light guide. It includes.

The light guide 510 is formed of a first flexible layer 520 having a first major surface 551 and a second major surface 552, a first major surface 531, and a second major surface 532. A second flexible layer 530, and a third flexible layer 540 having a first major surface 541 and a second major surface 542. The second major surface 552 is in contact with the first major surface 531, and the first major surface 541 is in contact with the second major surface 532. In some cases, substantially the entire second major surface 552 is in contact with substantially the entire first major surface 531. In some cases, substantially the entire first major surface 541 is in contact with substantially the entire second major surface 532.

The first major surface 551 includes a plurality of discrete light extractors 540, similar to the light extractor 140 of FIG. 1, capable of extracting light propagating within the light guide 510. The second major surface 542 also includes a plurality of discrete light extractors 560, similar to the light extractor 140 of FIG. 1, capable of extracting light propagating within the light guide 510. In an exemplary embodiment, the entire light guide 510 is flexible.

In some cases, at least one of the first flexible layer 520, the second flexible layer 530, and the third flexible layer 540 is isotropic in refractive index. In some cases, all three layers are isotropic.

All patents, patent applications, and other publications mentioned above are incorporated herein by reference as if fully reproduced. While specific examples of the invention have been described in detail above to facilitate describing various aspects of the invention, it should be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to the details of these examples. Rather, the intention is to cover all modifications, embodiments, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

Claims (32)

  1. A first flexible layer and a second flexible layer, each layer having a first major surface and a second major surface, the second major surface of the first flexible layer being the second flexible layer; The first major surface of the first flexible layer being in contact with a first major surface and having a plurality of discrete light extractors capable of extracting light propagating within the light guide, wherein light is first flexible The light guide uniformly extracted over substantially the entire first major surface of the layer.
  2. The light guide of claim 1, wherein the average thickness of the second flexible layer is at least 10 times the maximum thickness of the first flexible layer.
  3. The light guide of claim 1, wherein the average thickness of the second flexible layer is at least 20 times the maximum thickness of the first flexible layer.
  4. The light guide of claim 1, wherein the average thickness of the second flexible layer is at least 40 times the maximum thickness of the first flexible layer.
  5. The light guide according to claim 1, wherein the average thickness of the second flexible layer is 700 micrometers or less.
  6. The light guide according to claim 1, wherein the average thickness of the second flexible layer is 400 micrometers or less.
  7. The light guide of claim 1, wherein the average thickness of the second flexible layer is 250 micrometers or less.
  8. The light guide according to claim 1, wherein the average thickness of the first flexible layer is 50 micrometers or less.
  9. The light guide according to claim 1, wherein the average thickness of the first flexible layer is 20 micrometers or less.
  10. The light guide of claim 1, wherein the average thickness of the first flexible layer is no greater than 15 micrometers.
  11. The light guide of claim 1, wherein the first flexible layer has a substantially flat land area separating the plurality of discrete light extractors, the average thickness of the land area being less than or equal to 10 micrometers.
  12. The light guide according to claim 11, wherein the average thickness of the land region is 5 micrometers or less.
  13. The light guide of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first and second flexible layers can be curved to a radius of curvature of up to about 15 mm without damage.
  14. The light guide of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first and second flexible layers can be curved to a radius of curvature of up to about 5 mm without damage.
  15. The light guide of claim 1, wherein the first and second major surfaces of the second flexible layer are substantially parallel.
  16. The light guide of claim 1, wherein at least some of the plurality of discrete light extractors comprise a concave structure.
  17. The light guide of claim 1, wherein at least some of the plurality of discrete light extractors comprise a convex structure.
  18. The light guide according to claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of discrete light extractors is a substantially hemispherical convex lenslet.
  19. The light guide of claim 1, further comprising a light source disposed proximate the edge of the second flexible layer.
  20. 20. The light guide of claim 19, wherein the plurality of discrete light extractors are arranged along concentric arcs centered on the light source, each arc comprising at least two discrete light extractors.
  21. The light guide of claim 1, wherein the plurality of discrete light extractors are arranged along parallel lines to each other, each line comprising at least two discrete light extractors.
  22. The light guide of claim 1, wherein the substantially entire second major surface of the first flexible layer is in contact with the substantially entire first major surface of the second flexible layer.
  23. The light guide of claim 1, wherein the second flexible layer comprises a UV cured polymer.
  24. The light guide according to claim 1, which is flexible.
  25. The light guide of claim 1, further comprising at least one alignment tab or notch.
  26. The light guide of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first and second flexible layers is a bulk diffuser.
  27. The light guide of claim 1 wherein the first and second flexible layers are isotropic.
  28. The method of claim 1, further comprising a third flexible layer having a first major surface and a second major surface, wherein the first major surface of the third flexible layer is in contact with the second major surface of the second flexible layer. And the second major surface of the third flexible layer is provided with a plurality of discrete light extractors capable of extracting light propagating within the light guide.
  29. 29. The light guide of claim 28 wherein the third flexible layer is isotropic.
  30. A first flexible layer disposed over and in contact with substantially the entire major surface of the second flexible layer, the first flexible layer having a plurality of discrete light extractors, The light propagating in the flexible layers is extracted by the plurality of discrete light extractors, the intensity light guide having a uniform intensity across the entire light guide.
  31. A first flexible layer attached to and covering the second flexible layer, wherein a plurality of discrete light extractors are dispersed throughout the major surface of the first flexible layer, the light extractor being in the light guide A light guide which can extract the propagating light.
  32. 32. The light guide of claim 31 which is flexible.
KR1020087029138A 2006-05-31 2007-05-21 Flexible light guide KR20090024133A (en)

Priority Applications (2)

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US11/421,241 US20070279935A1 (en) 2006-05-31 2006-05-31 Flexible light guide
US11/421,241 2006-05-31

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US (1) US20070279935A1 (en)
EP (1) EP2030057A2 (en)
JP (1) JP2009539146A (en)
KR (1) KR20090024133A (en)
CN (1) CN101449187A (en)
TW (1) TW200807086A (en)
WO (1) WO2007143383A2 (en)

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WO2007143383A3 (en) 2008-02-21
JP2009539146A (en) 2009-11-12

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